Thursday, 11 October 2012

Wenger scouting FIVE forwards -Gazidis' jam running out -Cazorla's aim -Lolo injured?

Morning Gooners.

We'll start today with the manager's hunt for a striker to join the club in January. The Daily Telegraph report that Arsene Wenger has asked his global network of scouts to track him down a player who will hit the ground running in the league if they join in the winter transfer window.

There are names of course. The most high profile player being looked at is Athletic Bilbao forward Fernando Llorente - who could be available at a reduced fee as his contract runs out in July. There are others as well: Atletico Madrid striker Adrian Lopez, Fiorentina forward Stevan Jovetic, Palermo’s Abel Hernandez and Borussia Dortmund forward Robert Lewandowski.

I've always thought we were one striker short following the sale of the greedy badger. Wenger has shipped Ju Young Park and Nicklas Bendtner out on loan and clearly has lost faith in Marouane Chamakh. So that leaves us with Olivier Giroud trying to adapt to the Premier League while at the same time putting himself under pressure to score goals.

The manager has played Gervinho in that position but it's more than likely that he'll be heading to the Africa Cup of Nations in January. Wenger has also said Theo Walcott will get a chance to play through the middle, but we've yet to see if he'll actually do it - remembering that Walcott's contract negotiations are going on this week.

Last season we brought in Theirry Henry as short term cover. This January I think we'll need to look more longer term. And ideally we'll buy someone with the pedigree to hit the ground running in January and push us forward to silverware this season.

And after all with a healthy cash balance there is no reason why winning something this season shouldn't be an option. We've been promised by the Arsenal hierarchy jam tomorrow for far too long. Now CEO Ivan Gazidis said we should be delivering.

Gazidis told BBC Radio 5 Live:
"I think the time when we have to continue to ask them (Arsenal supporters) for patience is coming to an end and I think we will be able to deliver the kind of success they want on a consistent basis going forward as one of the leading clubs in Europe."
What we cannot do is wait until 2014 when the commercial deals come to an end to start competing. Those sponsoring us want to be associated with a winning brand. So now is the time to start delivering.

The manager has proved he's more than capable of picking up the right kind of signings in the transfer market. Lukas Podolski and Santi Cazorla have hit the ground running and Olivier Giroud is starting to score goals.

If we can add a player of their quality to play up front in January, we could certainly start to believe we've got a good chance to finish the season strongly and pick up a trophy or two....

And speaking of our little magician, Cazorla has been speaking of his move to Arsenal.

He said:

"I feel important at Arsenal and I want to keep developing. 
"The way Arsenal play and the responsibility they have given me is something I have always sought out. 
"I think it's a step forward in my career and I hope to improve a great deal in the future."
Improve? And I thought he was the finished article. If Cazorla takes his game to another level, it won't just be Wenger purring over him.

Elsewhere, Johan Djourou's agent has shut the door on a move to Roma but has said the player will evaluate his situation in January. Djourou is presently Arsenal's longest serving player and has a contract with the club until 2015. With Thomas Vermaelen, Per Mertesacker and Laurent Koscielny in front of him, his first team chances are limited.

But there are likely to be opportunities if injuries happen and the manager is waiting to get a bulletin from the French camp over a training ground knock picked up by Koscielny on his knee.

With Wenger trying to play down the hype surrounding  the return to fitness of Jack Wilshere, it's curious that the official website has published a story in which Captain Thomas Vermaelen says Jack can be "one of the best midfielders in the world". Let's take one step at a time, shall we?

And finally, congratulations to the Arsenal Ladies for picking up the Continental Cup with a 1-0 victory over Birmingham City.

That's it for today. Back with more tomorrow.

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